Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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I cannot say I was overly excited about July 25, 2015. This was the day I was schedule to canoe the Little Calumet River near the Indiana border. It was more than an hour away, and I did not think there could be anything adventure wise to be found in this corner of Chicago. It is very industrial and run down in that area.

Little Calumet River

The Little Calumet River is a perfect urban river with an interesting blend of industry and scenic woods

Paddling the Little Calumet River turned into an immediate surprise

I was guiding for the Friends of the Chicago River. I pulled into a forest preserve parking lot and was greeted by trees and a road that led to a narrow muddy river. In about ten minutes of sitting around once the canoes were unloaded, I saw herons, kingfishers, and a hawk while we waited to get started. The trip began to look more promising.

Related: Discovering unexpected Chicago River Canoe adventure

As it turned out, we were paddling upstream through Kickapoo Woods and then back to the put-in. The Little Calumet River turned out to be extremely scenic as it meandered through the forest preserve. There were sections where we went under bridges both car and train. These sections detracted from the beauty a little bit, but it also made it kind of interesting. The contrast from the woods and the industry gave it a definite urban character, which was not all unwelcome.

I had the GoPro running virtually the whole time until I ran out of batteries and took a long time lapse shot and then took some regular video as well. I am including two videos I made on the GoPro editing studio. In one I spliced the time lapse and the videos and then mixed them up.  In the other I slowed down the time lapse.

There was one exciting place at the beginning of the trip. there was some shallow water that went through some rocks and other underwater impediments that almost created a rapids. We had to assist our group up through the rocks because the current was kind of strong. Then we helped again on the way back, but everyone did really well navigating downstream.

Little Calumet River

The Little Calumet River with an interesting contrast between urban and woods

My paddle mate Deb, and I took off after lunch to get to the rapids section first, so we could get below the area in case anyone got in trouble. When we came around the corner, there was a doe and two fawns drinking at the water’s edge. We also saw several egrets. I was really amazed at how pretty this section of river is through Kickapoo Woods. I can’t wait to paddle again. It was a great paddle and quite a surprise. I think if you check out the videos you will see why I put it on my unexpected adventures along the Chicago River post.

Little Calumet Kickapoo Woods

You can see why the Little Calumet River was a pleasant surprise

If you would like to paddle this river, then check out Friends of Chicago River website for future trips. There are no more trips this year, but there is always next year. If you would like to canoe it yourself then there are a couple of entry points with a new put in site in Kickapoo Woods and also the one we began at. Check this website for more information and consult this map for the put in at Kickapoo Woods.

Adventure on!

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